Have any of you ever been to a church picnic? I am almost certain that if you are an adult that was raised in one of the mainline protestant denominations, you probably have. If you haven't, let me tell you how this usually works: A date will be set, usually around the time that schools are letting out for the summer, and a location will be settled upon. Now, some churches will hold their picnic in the park and some will do it right there on the church property if they have the space.
Once those things get done, the church service will be organized (and if you are a Lutheran, the service will be a lot like it is on any given Sunday morning inside the sanctuary) ; games are organized, and people will bring food. Lots of food. Yes, the church picnic can be a lot of fun... especially if the weather cooperates.
Well, yesterday (I'm writing this on Monday), was our church picnic, and boy let me tell you, we had a good time. Our "Worship on The Lawn" service was a big success! There were so many people that we needed nearly twice as many chairs as had been set out (which was easy to remedy, enter Gunfighter and SoccerGirl to carry more folding chairs). As I said, the service was well-attended; and well-done. Our pastor delivered a great sermon and was aided in this by the pastor of the Korean congregation that shares or church.
Of course, you can have a church service without music, but it probably will be a lot less fun, and since Martin Luther was such an advocate of singing during the service, what kind of Lutherans would we be if we didn't follow suit! So what did we do? We sang! We sang lots of songs, from the old standards, to some newer songs, and for some songs we were accompanied by our VERY robust (and very talented) brass ensemble. We were also treated to a really beautiful hymn sung by our Korean friends.
As if all of these things didn't combine to make a great service, we had the good fortune to have our puppet team assist the pastor in delivering the small children's sermon. Soccer Girl was beyond thrilled that she was going to be able to get to use her very own puppet (which we bought in Florida when we were there recently).
So the there yo have it, a fine picn... what? What do you mean "what about the food?" Well, ok, I'll take a minute to talk about the food. Dude, there was so much food it wasn't even funny. Burgers, hot dogs, salads, beans etc.... but the real treat (at least for me) was that some of the Korean members of the congregation prepared that most wonderful of dishes, Bulgogi! Oh, man, it was so good! Thinly sliced, tenderized, marinated beef, with a big rice cooker full to the brim, and a great smoky, sweet, slightly hot chili sauce to go with. TO. DIE. FOR. (especially if you like the Korean food like I do).
I feel that I should mention the desserts, mainly because there were so many brownies and other sweets there, you could have killed two platoons of diabetics. Lastly, there was Jell-O. That's right, Jell-O. As you know from reading this, you can't have a gathering of Lutherans that includes food where someone (or several someones) doesn't bring Jell-O. Only this time something went... wrong. Wrong I say because this Jell-O was BLUE! BLUE, I tell you. I've never heard of such... Lutherans are supposed to rock the GREEN Jell-O! How am I going to explain this to Casey?
Anyway, the service was over, we were done eating, and Soccer Girl had gone on the moon-bounce at least twice... once bouncing along with Pastor Meredith (who is a very energetic newlywed young woman of thirty years)... It was finally time to go home.
Good times. Good times.
Addendum: I found out last night (wed.) that on average, the attendance at the church picnic hs been around 40 to 50 people... this year, we had over 200! Woo hoo!